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Through gleaning, twin Clallam Extension volunteers help community access healthy foods

Posted by struscott | April 29, 2019
Group photo of gleaners with boxes of cherries on table in orchard.
Supported by Clallam County Extension, volunteer gleaners including Dianna Sarto, far left, pick cherries to support the Sequim food bank.

Volunteers helping bring healthy fruits and vegetables to their coastal Washington communities through Clallam County Extension were highlighted in a recent story in the Peninsula Daily News.

Sharah Truett, volunteer Gleaning Coordinator with Clallam Extension, wrote the story featuring twin sisters Dianna Sarto and Deborah Harrison, who glean fruits and vegetables through Extension.

Gleaning refers to the harvesting of extra or left-over crops from gardens, orchards and farms. Gleaners help ensure everyone has access to food.

As shared in Truett’s story, Sarto and Harrison began gleaning about four years ago.

“We leap at any opportunity that comes along to partake of homegrown fruits and veggies,” Harrison said. “The taste is so much better.

“The WSU Extension Gleaning Program is kind of like a fruit and veggie classified service,” states Truett. “It links up volunteer pickers with homeowners who have leftover produce in their yard and don’t want to see it go to waste,” Truett added.

Her program includes about 100 active gleaners, many of them seniors, but people of any age are welcome.

Once they’ve picked the food, gleaners keep about half of their harvest, but donate the rest to those in need, through city and Tribe food banks, senior centers and elementary schools.

Gleaning “has awakened me to the changing seasons and the natural cycles of life and especially the generosity of the land and the people who live here,” Sarto says in the story.

Truett’s story shares the experience and benefits of her program, and appears in Lifelong Journey, Peninsula Daily News’ senior publication. You can read it here.

Learn more about Clallam County Extension’s gleaming program here.